The Prior Art and Insights reports have delivered higher levels of clarity about prior art, and the current patent landscape. I find that side of the reporting very useful. Most of the clients that I'm dealing with are not big corporates, they're smaller companies that are seeking investment
Totalinfo started in Northern Ireland in 2000, and today works with companies across the UK, Europe and internationally, particularly in Brazil and China, as per client requirements. Totalinfo also provides both IP and Contracts training. Current IP workshops use a competitive IP ownership simulation game to help in-house teams, or even potential clients of IP firms, to understand why this "IP" should be taken seriously. These are great fun and provide a good learning experience to experts and beginners alike.
Could you tell us a little bit more about your role?
“At the moment, I am working at Queens University, and running Totalinfo as a side project. I am keen to increase my company's offerings and to work with new partners, so, with that in mind, I’ve created several different products that I’ll be delivering to my clients. I’ve decided to go a little bit more niche and offer services related to technology insights, partner identification and IP training.
“The partnerID product came about because I understand that sometimes some clients don't want a full Prior Art search but instead are just interested in finding out who a potential licensee or JV partner could be in a given territory within a specific technology space.
“The TechInsights product is for companies who have specific interests, and are looking to find out what can they do with a technology now that they’ve got it; looking closely at what other applications exist that it could be used for, is there any whitespace, and exploring the implications of commercializing in that space. It is a similar type of project as a Prior Art or Novelty search, however it has a different focus and the report and subsequent consultation generate different outcomes for the clients.
“The essence of services provided by Totalinfo is that they are solely focused on the key outcomes that my clients require."
What are the typical challenges your clients are facing within your industry?
"I think one key challenge for my clients arises when their idea is half novel and half not. There is a level of pivoting that’s required from them at that point, but at the same time it’s better they discover this issue early on. Sometimes it may not matter because the prior art might have expired, but the earlier they know that the better, because if it's not novel there might be little value in going on to engage in additional prototyping or R&D.
“This means they can decide to focus their time on the novel bit, because that's really where their USP will be, and that's where they can drive higher margins.
“I think the biggest challenge my clients come up against is their long-term funding. It's not an IP challenge, but they're just finding it hard being a start-up.”
How have you used PatSnap to help address some of your client’s challenges?
"The Prior Art and Insights reports have delivered higher levels of clarity about prior art, and the current patent landscape. I find that side of the reporting very useful. Most of the clients that I'm dealing with are not big corporates, they're smaller companies that are seeking investment. They might be using my report to justify why they should get further investment, so if my Prior Art report can demonstrate that their idea is likely to be novel and that I’ve performed a detailed search exercise using a database of 120 million patents, that provides investors and potential buyers with greater confidence, particularly given the report is focused on the potential business implications of the information found.
“I enjoy working with PatSnap, you're a good bunch. Ever since I met Ray Chohan in 2012 at a conference, I always thought you were a solid bunch of people, so it’s good to keep that relationship going and carry on working together.”
Are there personal drivers behind what you're doing? Why is this so important for you?
“Well I’ve always been interested in intellectual property law. So, I got a chance to do a job which incorporated both contracts and IP management. Over time, I did more and more IP management and less contracts management and for a while I was 100% IP management and IP work.
"The reason I have a passion for IP is because I love the variety which comes from both the innovations and the clients themselves. I have been privileged to work with some fantastic people, and I really enjoy helping them to interpret the information we find about their innovation(s) and then to use it to create an IP strategy for their business, an IP strategy aligned with the goals of their business. It's all about people, their ideas, and assisting others to create a better future for us all.
"The strapline for Totalinfo is creating value from innovation and that’s what I’m trying to achieve.”